How to Design a Japanese Style Living Room

Japanese interior style has long been celebrated for its elegant minimalism. When Japanese style principles are introduced into home decor, the finished result is typically sleek and modern, while still retaining an ancient feeling of mystery. Accessories with Japanese flair are not hard to find, thanks to the popularity of the style. A few decor pieces and design techniques can turn any living room into a Japanese-style space.


Things You'll Need

  • Paint
  • Japanese-style furniture
  • Decor objects
  • Rice paper screens
  • Bamboo shades
  • Tatami rugs

Select the color palette for your living room, choosing from two common styles. The first is bold, done in white, black and red. The second is more muted and relies heavily on earth tones to bring nature in. Pick the one that is more closely suited to your personal style.

Paint the room. Remove everything from the living room so that you are working with a blank slate. Paint the walls according to the color palette you've chosen.

Add window treatments. Bamboo shades work well with an earth-toned room and are best suited for those who prefer to block more light. Rice paper shades let in more light and could work with either color scheme.

Place a rug in the center of the room. A tatami or sisal rug is ideal for the earth tone color scheme. For the bold color scheme, a black and white rug with an Oriental motif would work best. The rug should be centered in the room to provide balance.


Begin adding in your furniture. Less is more in a Japanese-style living room. Select pieces that provide enough seating without cluttering up the room. In the center of the rug, place a low table with floor cushions. Couches and chairs should then be placed along the walls of the room to improve the overall flow and feel.

Bring in decor objects and lighting. Avoid overusing decor items and select three to five key pieces for the room. For the center of the table in the middle of the room, place a small bonsai tree or an interesting Asian-inspired figurine. For the walls, you can add a Japanese style screen or a small calligraphy print. Add accent lighting around the room for warmth and necessary light.

Keep all clutter out of the living room. Japanese style is minimalistic. Add a few bamboo baskets to store away frequently used items such as remotes or magazines. The finished result should be almost bare to highlight the furniture pieces and artwork.

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